Thursday, 31 October 2013

Greek Cross Cushion

Recently I've been trying to get my sewing projects into some sort of order. Picking out a few to focus on before Christmas and getting all the bits and pieces needed to complete them into one place. For some reason, my brain doesn't find that sort of organsing to be conducive to blogging. But, hopefully, now that I'm actually moving on these projects I'll be writing with more regularity!

Today I'm going to talk about the Greek Cross cushion I made over the last month. Originally I cut the pieces to put them into a charity quilt at my guild. But life had different plans for me and I couldn't attend that sewing day. I sewed the blocks up anyway because I loved the colours, had them already cut, and desperately needed to sew something.

Basting front and back.
Once I got back to my stash I pulled the same colours and strip-pieced a backing. I decided to baste the front and back as normal, using a plentiful but mystery blue and white polka dot in my stash as the backing. My thinking there was that the cushion inner would wear away the cotton less than it might pull at the batting by itself.

I know that with these being so small (~24" square) I could have used this opportunity to break out my new darning foot and trying out some FMQ for the first time. In the end I just didn't know where to start and I had an idea of how I'd straight line quilt it. Now, even though I've been quilting for over a year now I only got a walking foot for my machine this summer. So I'm still only testing out various things I've seen around blogland. This time I decided to try straight line quilting ¼" apart on the backing.

I learned lots. First, straight line quilting so densely makes me really dizzy!

Second, they're not lying. Holy god does this quilting shrink your fabric. The backing started off an inch larger than the front on all sides. When I reached halfway I realised that if I did the quilting all over the back then they just wouldn't fit together at all without seriously cutting into my piecing on the front. Luckily, I also love the contrast in texture on the back!

Finally, even though my camera's not good enough to pick it up. I started and did the majority of this quilting on my machine in DC, but I finished it just a couple of nights ago on my mother's machine in Ireland. Both are Brother sewing machines. But the difference in stitch size and length is not something I was expecting. Also, my mother's machine is really sensitive to small changes in speed through the machine and stitches can easily go from large to tiny without changing any of the settings. I have to really be awake when I'm using it for quilting.

Since I'm so new to the walking foot I'm still not 100% sure of all the tips and tricks. I've found it brilliant, but occasionally I do still get the top material being pushed over quilting lines going perpendicularly. Causing very tiny rucks, but not everywhere just now and again. The top right pink cross was particularly prone to it on this cushion. Is this a basting problem? Have I just not stuck the top down firmly enough? If I was using basting pins would this problem be more prevalent or less?

Because of all these questions, and because I've learned so much in the last few weeks already I'm linking up to Gemma at Pretty Bobbins for the I Quilt Linky Party!


  1. I love this! The colors! The quilting! Oh so gorgeous! And the back looks super posh!

  2. Really beautiful work, Aoife! That dense quilting adds so much... And who would have thought that the two Brother machines would be so different? Maybe the European machines have a different manufacturer or there's a difference in machine ages, and they changed manu's in between... Crazy!

  3. Looks fantastic! I really like the difference in texture. I had a similar puckering problem on a baby quilt and ended up unpinning and rebasting. Still no idea what happened but it turned out fine in the end!

  4. It's amazing how much fabric the quilting takes up! I love the contrast in textures on the back though. I think it makes it, personally.
    E xx

  5. I've just been poking around your blog. Such bright fun projects! The quilting on your cushion is wonderful. I do like how it just stops on the back. I still get little tucks here and there as well. Fabric stretches --that's a fact. Enjoy your stitching today : )

  6. Wow! I love these crosses! The colors are just fantastic and the quilting on all your projects is perfect. I admire that you used different machines and came out with such a great outcome.

  7. Love this cheerful colorway, and the quilting came out really well. I pin baste, and after reading about your rucks, I wonder how you are basting?

  8. So cheerful and gorgeous. Love the quilting

  9. I love the colours you've used and the bold pattern. It's so interesting to hear about your quilting experiences. I really like the look of the half quilted back of the cushion.

  10. Gorgeous, gorgeous cushion!! And I love that you quilted it on two machines and all the learning that took place! Dense quilting sure does shrink your fabric. I still live on the edge and don't give myself much wiggle room lol I love the look of the half densely quilted and half un quilted. Great post, thanks for linking up :) I'd love to feature you this week Aoife, can you let me know if you'd be happy for me to share one of your images? Thanks xx


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